They, continuing daily with one accord in the temple - They were present at all the times of public worship, and joined together in prayers and praises to God; for it in not to be supposed that they continued to offer any of the sacrifices prescribed by the law.
Breaking bread from house to house - This may signify, that select companies, who were contiguous to each other, frequently ate together at their respective lodgings on their return from public worship. But κατ 'οικον, which we translate from house to house, is repeatedly used by the Greek writers for home, at home, for though they had all things in common, each person lived at his own table. Breaking bread is used to express the act of taking their meals. The bread of the Jews was thin, hard, and dry, and was never cut with the knife as ours is, but was simply broken by the hand.
With gladness and singleness of heart - A true picture of genuine Christian fellowship. They ate their bread: they had no severe fasts; the Holy Spirit had done in their souls, by his refining influence, what others vainly expect from bodily austerities. It may be said also, that, if they had no severe fasts, they had no splendid feasts: all was moderation, and all was contentment. They were full of gladness, spiritual joy and happiness; and singleness of heart, every man worthy of the confidence of his neighbor; and all walking by the same rule, and minding the same thing.
With one accord - Compare Acts 1:14; Acts 2:1.
In the temple - This was the public place of worship; and the disciples were not disposed to leave the place where their fathers had so long worshipped God. This does not mean that they were constantly in the temple, but only at the customary hours of prayer - at nine o‘clock in the morning, and at three o‘clock in the afternoon.
And breaking bread - See the notes on Acts 2:42.
From house to house - In the margin, “at home.” So the Syriac and Arabic. The common interpretation, however, is, that they did it in their various houses, now in this and now in that, as might be convenient. If it refers to their ordinary meals, then it means that they partook in common of what they possessed, and the expression “did eat their meat” seems to imply that this refers to their common meals, and not to the Lord‘s Supper.
Did eat their meat - Did partake of their food. The word “meat” with us is applied to “flesh.” In the Bible, and in Old English authors, it is applied to “provisions” of any kind. Here it means all kinds of sustenance; what nourished them - τροφῆς trophēs- and the use of this word proves that it does not refer to the Lord‘s Supper; for that ordinance is nowhere represented as designed for an ordinary meal, or to nourish the body. Compare 1 Corinthians 11:33-34. With gladness - With rejoicing. This is one of the effects of religion. It is far from gloom; it diffuses happiness over the mind; it bestows additional joy in the participation of even our ordinary pleasures. Singleness of heart - This means with a sincere and pure heart. They were satisfied and thankful. They were not perplexed or anxious; nor were they solicitous for the luxurious living, or aspiring after the vain objects of the people of the world. Compare Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 1:12; Colossians 3:22; Ephesians 6:5.
With gladness - With rejoicing. This is one of the effects of religion. It is far from gloom; it diffuses happiness over the mind; it bestows additional joy in the participation of even our ordinary pleasures.
Singleness of heart - This means with a sincere and pure heart. They were satisfied and thankful. They were not perplexed or anxious; nor were they solicitous for the luxurious living, or aspiring after the vain objects of the people of the world. Compare Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 1:12; Colossians 3:22; Ephesians 6:5.
After the descent of the Holy Spirit the disciples went forth to proclaim a risen Saviour, their one desire the salvation of souls. They rejoiced in the sweetness of the communion with saints. They were tender, thoughtful, self-denying, willing to make any sacrifice for the truth's sake. In their daily association with one another they revealed the love that Christ had commanded them to reveal. By unselfish words and deeds they strove to kindle this love in other hearts. 8T 241.1
The believers were ever to cherish the love that filled the hearts of the apostles after the descent of the Holy Spirit. They were to go forward in willing obedience to the new commandment: “As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34. So closely were they to be united to Christ that they would be enabled to fulfill His requirements. The power of a Saviour who could justify them by His righteousness was to be magnified. 8T 241.2
But the early Christians began to look for defects in one another. Dwelling upon mistakes, giving place to unkind criticism, they lost sight of the Saviour and of the great love He had revealed for sinners. They became more strict in regard to outward ceremonies, more particular about the theory of the faith, more severe in their criticisms. In their zeal to condemn others they forgot their own errors. They forgot the lesson of brotherly love that Christ had taught. And, saddest of all, they were unconscious of their loss. They did not realize that happiness and joy were going out of their lives, and that soon they would walk in darkness, having shut the love of God out of their hearts. 8T 241.3Read in context »
A Wonderful Reformation Promised—When the grace of Christ is expressed in the words and works of the believers, light will shine forth to those who are in darkness; for while the lips are speaking to the praise of God, the hand will be stretched out in beneficence for the help of the perishing. We read that on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, no man said that aught that he possessed was his own. All they owned was held for the advance of the wonderful reformation. And thousands were converted in a day. When the same spirit actuates believers today, and they give back to God of His own with the same liberality, a wide and far-reaching work will be accomplished.—Manuscript 95, 1907. WM 271.1
Christians to Act as God's Treasurers—The poor are God's heritage. Christ has given His life for them. He calls upon those whom He has appointed to act as His stewards, to give liberally of the means entrusted to them to relieve the poor and to support His work in the earth. The Lord is rich in resources. He has appointed men to act as His treasurers in this world. That which He has given them they are to use in his service.—Manuscript 146, 1903. WM 272.1Read in context »
Many have, as had Moses, very much to unlearn in order to learn the very lessons that they need to learn. He had need to be self-trained by severest mental and moral discipline, and God wrought with him before he could be fitted to train others in mind and heart. He had been instructed in the Egyptian courts. Nothing was left as unnecessary to train him to become a general of armies. The false theories of the idolatrous Egyptians had been instilled into his mind, and the influences surrounding him and things his eyes looked upon could not be easily shaken off or corrected. Thus it is with many who have had a false training in any line. All the idolatrous rubbish of heathen lore must be removed, bit by bit, item by item, from Moses’ mind. Jethro helped him in many things to a correct faith, as far as he himself understood. He was working upward toward the light, when he could see God in singleness of heart.... TDG 321.4Read in context »
Paul urges the Ephesians to preserve unity and love: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” 5T 239.1
The apostle exhorts his brethren to manifest in their lives the power of the truth which he had presented to them. By meekness and gentleness, forbearance and love, they were to exemplify the character of Christ and the blessings of His salvation. There is but one body, and one Spirit, one Lord, one faith. As members of the body of Christ all believers are animated by the same spirit and the same hope. Divisions in the church dishonor the religion of Christ before the world and give occasion to the enemies of truth to justify their course. Paul's instructions were not written alone for the church in his day. God designed that they should be sent down to us. What are we doing to preserve unity in the bonds of peace? 5T 239.2
When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the early church, the brethren loved one another. “They ... did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people: and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Those primitive Christians were few in numbers, without wealth or honor, yet they exerted a mighty influence. The light of the world shone out from them. They were a terror to evildoers wherever their character and their doctrines were known. For this cause they were hated by the wicked and persecuted even unto death. 5T 239.3Read in context »